One would wonder, what made William Darlymple call Dilli as the city of Djinns, well you can seek the answer by exploring this monument-The Feroz shah Kotla Fort.
It is an amazing opportunity to peek out into the world of the past. Every stone here, has a story to tell, the place has seen people from all epochs, from all places. It is one of the rare sites where people can experience this eerie yet hypnotizing interaction of the past and the present.
Firoz Shah was the first ruler of Delhi who stayed away from the boisterous battles and chose to focous on public service instead. During his rule , he concentrated on building canals for irrigation ,gardens ,hospitals ,public baths ,bridges ,mosques, reservoirs , dams and a new city called Firozabad.
The Kushk-i-firoz or the citadel of Firoz Shah was a part of the new city.’kotla’ is derived from the word kot meaning a fortified area within a city.
The broad planning principles of a ‘muslim city centre’ enunciated for the first time by Firoz shah consisted in locating the Diwan-i-khas at the heart of the complex, backed up by a series of private palaces along the riverfront, well-protected on the other side by army barracks and other sundry structures with limited access for the common public to the diwan-i-khas.(if you see, this is similar to the mughal architecture which probably is inspired by this fort )
As you enter the compound , you will surely be stunned to see the majesty of the structures, you can clearly visualize the citadel as it would have been just by looking at the ruins- huge pillars ,corridors , courtyards and much more. The Baoli , the mosque are the structures which have successfully passed the tests of time.
The first thing which will catch your eyeballs is the djinh dewaar ,black with soot where people pray,write letters ,talk of their problems to the djin, who will solve all their problems .The baoli here, is very different from all the other Baolis of Delhi as it is circular and does not have any steps leading to the water collection, it is fascinating to know that they used the pulley to draw water from the baoli.The mosque was the largest one built by the tuglaqs when intact.The mehrab , the western prayer wall still exists and is even used today.
The place is best known for the ashoka pillar standing atop a three-storeyed pyramidal structure, each of the floor smaller than the preceding one and these diminishing floors are linked to private rooms This pyramidal structure is like a hawaa mahal and is called as the lath pyramid due to the pillar erected .
The hawaa mahal served as a prototype for the 16th century mughal city palaces and the narrow connecting corridors behind the quila wall became a common feature of the mosques built by the Mughals.
“this place was huge , bigger than now. Half of the fort had been demolished by the Mughals for building Shahjahanabad. Then,when people came from Pakistan (during partition ), much was taken and houses were built,you see these huge flyovers and factories, they have been built putting our history at stake “ said a regular visitor of the fort.
Today, sadly, the fort stands unnoticed besides the Stadium. The little attention it gets is by people like us and people like him who come their because of their faith. Hence, I believe such a masterpiece which holds great relevance in the present context too needs protection, maintenance and A Lot of attention before it is completely ignored.
If we look at the criteria for selection as WHS, I think, the following criteria will satisfy:
- Represent a masterpiece of human creative genius.
2.exibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or disappeared .
- Be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance .
The fort provides us an important landmark where the indo-islamic architecture flourished , it was after the rule of firoz Shah that the world saw some of the Indo-Islamic architectural specimen.
The fort gives us the mark from where architecture and its creativity and effectiveness have grown to great levels.It is the place where people interact with the beliefs of the past , a place which amuses people with its glorious structures , it is time to recognize such structure. And no other organization other than the UNESCO can do justice to it .
Hence , I nominate FIROZ SHAH KOTLA FORT for WHS.